Focusing at work can be really difficult. Luckily, there are many ways to combat that. The human attention span is very short. According to studies, the human attention span is 8 seconds—and shrinking since the introduction of social media, which isn’t exactly ideal for the workplace. The workplace is full of constant distractions. You can’t control other people, but you can control you. Here are some tips and tricks that might help you.
1. Center Yourself
Focusing your brain is like training a muscle. Many people do meditation in the morning before work, others do yoga. Finding this time to find your inner peace and relaxation is helpful. Doing yoga or meditation is by no means easy. Training it to focus on your yoga or meditation without interrupted thoughts is really difficult, but the results afterwards are incredible. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and the more benefits you’ll feel from it. If you need to take a break in the office, putting on some headphones and closing your eyes can be a great time to do some meditation–even if it’s only for a few minutes. Once you’re familiar with that state of mind, in stressful meetings or situations, you can retreat to that part of your brain, center yourself, all while participating in the situation. It’s extremely helpful–and healthy.
2. Your Body’s Needs
Whether you’re in the middle of your day, or just beginning, you might realize you’re having trouble focusing. That’s okay. Take a minute to check in with your body and its needs. Is your mind constantly going to one activity or scenario? Are you dehydrated? Hungry? Hot or cold? Instead of trying to double down on focus, try sitting back, taking a few deep breaths, and figuring out solutions to your situations. Trying really hard to focus only causes more anxiety. If there’s something that’s on your mind, ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do about it?” If not, try to let it go for the time being and live in the present.
3. Go Off the Grid
Being connected to social media is a habit. Getting Instagram and Facebook notifications at all hours of the day is really distracting. Your mind instantly goes to what these other people are doing in your life. It can become a really unhealthy habit. Go turn of your notifications. Not just Do Not Disturb mode, but really turn off your notifications for each app that distracts you. Even keeping this up in your everyday life can really make a huge difference, not just with focus, but for your mental health too.
There’s only so much you can do to prevent environmental distractions. In the modern workspace, most every is working in an open office space. There are always people moving around, talking to each other, on phones, music playing. There’s only so much control you can have over the office. Try learning the dynamics of the office. It might turn out to be really predictable. Adjust your schedule and placement of where you work and when. Coming in an hour or two early can be helpful to get your work done in peace and quiet–not to mention how much time afterwork you’ll have.
5. Use Your Hands
Depending on what your job is, sitting at a desk or computer, writing, reading, checking emails, can be mentally exhausting and monotonous. Try taking a break and doing something that doesn’t require a lot of brain activity. Try reorganizing your desk. Clutter is really distracting. The way your space is set up is extremely crucial to your focus ability. Doing something with an end result that’s so simple, can really make you feel refreshed.
6. Make A Plan
Whether you have a perfect calendar or not, making a plan for the day can be really helpful. Even if you don’t feel like completing a certain task at the moment, writing things down on a checklist can actually be motivating. Being able to check an item off the list makes your job a lot less overwhelming. Checking a task of your list gives you a sense of accomplishment, lowering your anxiety. This can help you from procrastinating too. Seeing the list of things you need to accomplish today means there’s no pushing it to tomorrow.
7. Switch It Up
It can be really difficult to work on one big project for a long time. Don’t be afraid to switch back and forth between other projects you need to complete too. Changing your project switches the routines your brain is adjusting to. Getting your brain to work on something for a long time can be really painful, so introducing your brain to another project or topic, can be stimulated by the challenge.
8. Move Around
It can be hard to exercise while in the office or in the middle of work, but taking a break to go grab a coffee or lunch can be really helpful. It switches your focus to something else–something that you want to focus on. Even if it’s a short walk, just the fresh air can stimulate your brain and cause it to destress. Stretching is another great option to loosen up and destress. Even moving your workspace around–go to a different part of the office, to a community space, or a conference room if it’s available.
9. Break It Down
It might be hard to dive into any project, but especially big ones. They can be really daunting and cause stress and anxiety. Break it down into steps. You can accomplish smaller steps that gives you a great jumping off point into the project. You can also ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or talk to a coworker. You’re not alone. We all feel overwhelmed at times.
10. Find Something You Want To Do
This might be a tall order, but hopefully you have one project–or even one part of the project you enjoy doing. Use that to motivate yourself. Once you get started, you’ll find it’s easier to keep going. Starting with something you’re interested in makes it much easier for your brain to focus because you’re not waiting for it to be over.
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